BDTC Meeting Notes (11/18/2021) 

Attendance: Linda L. (Chair), Jeff L., Michael (Secretary), Richard Waring, Stephen Shestakofsky, Jeanne Mooney, Carolyn Shwartz, Kathy Quirk, Ellie Lesser (BHS Climate Action Club students), Dave Rogers (State Rep), Will Brownsberger (State Senate), Teresa, Dan Barry, Cambell Ames (Pol Director 350 Mass), Vera Isk (Treasure), Kai, Jean Dickinson, Krista Chan (BHS Climate Action Club students) , Marty Bitner, Julie Wu (Diversity/Affirmative Action Director), Phil Thayer (Sustainable Belmont), Francesca Kitch (BHS student who is a member Sustainable Belmont !!), Frank Frasier, Dean Hickman, Peter Grey, Jack Perenick (VP of Young Democrats), Mark Paolillo (Select Board and Light Dept), Emi GrafVicki Amalfitano, Dean Burrow (Sustainable Belmont)  Mary J., Florence Farrell, Greg P. Ted Dukkas  

  1. Treasury Update:  
  1. Senator Will Brownsberger and Representative Dave Rogers discuss on State level action:  
  1. Will B. All of us in the state are trying to deal with climate change. Rubber is hitting the road on if we can make our targets to stop some of the most extreme environmental impact. We reduced our emission by 10-15% over last 30 years. Now we are trying to legislate changes to cut emissions by 30% in 10 years. We have to move away from fossil fuels as the main source of our energy grid. We need to electrify cars, electrify our power grid and build a lot more wind, solar, and hydro. A real challenge, as in Maine they voted against allowing Canada to connect to MA power grid (transfer of wind power and clean energy). We also need to scale up heat pumps and other clean energy power and heating sources. We have to pick up the pace, this is the key decade. Dave R. Roadmap bill, sets strong benchmarks we need to hit, sector by sector list, Housing, Transportation, et al. We have the state having to check in every 5 years to see how we are doing. If the state is on track, even if a few sectors are off, its ok. IF, however, we are short in state goals AND sectors, the law has real teeth that forces the state to make more emission cuts. We got 41 Municipal plans who are trying to do a Net Zero energy goal. We have an environmental justice standard; we also are working to reduce the use of plastics that use a lot of fossil fuels. GM says all cars electric by 2030, and Ford has also agreed to this. Battery tech is dramatically improving  
  1. Q/A: Steve K: Notes that there seems to be a lack of political will. High gas prices lead to some issue where politicians want to use some of the emergency oil reserve to lower prices shocks for people. But high oil/gas prices might reduce oil/gas consumption, and promote electric vehicles. However, its politically challenging due to costs to consumers. Will B. I agree that there is a real issue of political will, but especially so as it requires political sacrifice that can be a real challenge in states with a lot of oil and gas infrastructure (Like Texas, OK, ND, SD). Vera  I. Notes that a lot of plastic uses can be replaced or altered by using hemp. Are we considering this as an alternative? Is it legal (issues with legal pot)? Dave notes we are working on a lot of plastic alternatives. He notes many legal weed farms are trying to go into CBD (profits margins).    
  1. Also, discussion of heat pumps, Linda L. notes that heat pumps can be expensive, and it requires a fair amount of work to change your heating system. I know in England they give a 5,000-pound incentive to change over your system. Will B. Notes that the state will need to drastic increase our incentives to change over to green energy and power/heat. State will work on increasing incentives.   
  1. Jack Perenick, VP of Young Democrats:  
  1. Working to reach out to town Meetings, talk to activists, and gather knowledge to help teach the younger generation, and hold on to that knowledge. He represents a new outreach group that under the young Dems to get folks in Town Meeting and young Democrats to work together and collaborate and do team building and learn skills. 10 ideals to have all Dem groups to pass down information and to teach the next generation. and (websites for our group) my email is 
  1. Ellie Lesser and the BHS Climate Action Club students   
  1. Some of what the BHS Climate Action Club has achieved: Paper Bag fee (presented at Town Meeting, got affected by COVID unfortunately). Did climate week at BHS to coincide with a general strike/week of action nationally (2020), fought for Solar panels (and WON!) at the Chenery School (2021), promoting composting campaign and made signs and got active to promote green Recyling (2021). Promoting Electric Busses for the town (2021) Got involved in supporting the Override (to increase funding in Environmental reforms) (2021), and also pushing for Solar panels on the new BHS (2021-ongoing). Working on supporting native growth and plants (2021).  
  1. Michael M. I think what you are doing is really cool. How has your school responded?  
  1. Jean Mooney: Do you have a staff advisor? What are some of the ways we could help you? Are the schools trying to teach about Environmental science/changes/jobs?    
  1. Krista Chan: We have a math teacher who also teach social justice by the numbers, he is our staff advisors.  
  1. Linda L. If you want to contact your legislator, or ask for some help talking to the state house we can help!  
  1. Ellie L. We really appreciate that, we would love to work with you!  
  1. Ellie Lesser: We also have reached out to the Chenery to work on composting and integrating teaching environmental subjects in science.  
  1. Julie W: I am part of a composting group in Belmont and would love to work with you.  
  1. Ellie L. Awesome! We would love to work with you.  
  1. Marty Bitner, Belmont’s Energy Committee: 
  1. Helped working to pass new construction codes to make all new construction carbon neutral  
  1. Working to promote EV charging stations.  
  1. Electrify everything and work to make Belmont Electricity 100 carbon free.  
  1. We have/own our public utility, Belmont Light, that has transition to 60% carbon free already   
  1. Three areas we create the most emissions: Heating (40%), (Cars 36%), energy creation (20ish %).  
  1. 250$ rebate that Belmont Light has for chargers at your house for your electric cars (more money is being unlocked in the Build Back Better bill (BBB) in congress for chargers AND EV.)      
  1. We are working to have the new BHS have electric heating pumps (and preserve the Rooftop solar), working for McClain to have all heat pumps, making sure any change to the library will have heat pumps and solar on the roof. Also notes 140 Belmont homes have heat pumps (and you can get a max of 3,500$ tax credit to transition your system over). Chenery Middle School Has solar panels on the roof!! Also working on promoting native plants and growth.   
  1. Michael M. Have you gotten any interest from students (at BHS) who want to get involved?  
  1. Marty Bitner: Yes! We have Francesca Kitch, who is from the BHS who has gotten involved and its exciting. We are working with the environmental suitability club at the BHS.  
  1. Jean Mooney: Asking about the federal government or state or local grants for Electrifying Buses, cars and other local government resources?  
  1. Marty B. We know that the infrastructure bill passed by Congress has some money for Electric Buses. So, we are talking to Fallen (school superintendent). One of the things that affects this is we lease our school buses.  
  1. Mark P. I would note we could put in a clause that says when we go to bid for leasing school buses, that we want to only work with companies that will lease us Eletric School buses.  
  1. Marty B. Notes that that could be interesting way to push companies to support green energy and help us meet our goals.   
  1. Dean Burrow, Sustainable Belmont:  
  1. Notes that the BHS Sustainability group really affect Town Meeting Members, they really listen to the students.  
  1. He is the chair of Sustainable Belmont; he is a scientist by trade.  
  1. Notes the Good, Bad and Ugly: Good, we know Climate change is real, it is undeniable, politicians know this matters. We know that there are limits as limited pool of money, time, and attention. The consequences are going to be severe. We know that many people feel helpless but want to know where to start to take action. Also notes some people feel that other need to steps before us…  
  1. Sustainable Belmont has worked to be part and even get on Town Committees, to help affect legislation that affects the public, and our environmental we all share. To be active, to get speakers to speak to Sustainable Belmont and to educate ourselves. To also do basic efforts, like cleaning up the local pond, and campaign on local issues and work to reach out to more people. (We are non-partisan group; anyone can join and be involved).  
  1. Working to reach out and empower citizens to be able to speak truth to power to local officials who might be hearing other things from more reactionary groups. 
  1. Pushing for Young people to find their voice, working to promote native growth and plants and also working to limit air pollution.     
  1. Mark Paolillo, Selectboard:  
  1. We have made a lot of progress. But we only have about 300 EV (2% of Belmont cars), when we still need to do a lot more. We have a couple hundred heat pump homes, but that is out of 3,000+ homes. We need to drastically increase our efforts. We need to raise more awareness about our discount/rebate incentives. Many people were not aware of charging station rebates, or heat pump incentives. Only 20% of people who answered our town services satisfaction survey answered that they knew about the rebates, and about our strategic electric plan (or what it was/means to them!). We need to establish a policy now, so that means any new vehicle we buy as a town to be electric, we need to convert all our police cars (over the next 3-5 years) to EV. Obviously, we know there are limits on fire trucks, and snow plows (no EV for those yet).  
  1. Peter Grey: Is the town planning to focus on “time of use” of electricity? Like peak times, as those tend to be high use times.  
  1. Mark P. Pilot program for Electric light to implementing “time of use” rates for electricity, we need to make more people in town aware that we are working on a pilot program to reduce use at peak times, and that will reduce us needing to buy power from dirty sources to offset peak energy needs.    
  1. Linda L. One of the BDTC members who can’t make this meeting wanted to ask about traffic jams, and parking issues.  
  1. Mark P. Notes that working on promoting more biking, and safe routes to school to cut down on traffic and car use. We also need to be aware more parking might lead to more traffic as more people will be using cars to go places. We want to encouraging biking, pedestrians, and public transit. Also using more 4 ways stop and speed medians could also help cut down on cut through traffic that causes traffic snarls.      
  1. Jean Moony: Could we have a clock, or a countdown publicly available (near town Green) that would show us a very literal manifestation of climate change? And it could go in the right direction if we make our town changes.  
  1. Mark P. That is an excellent idea!! We could do that on the town green to make people aware of the urgent need for action. It would put it into greater focus, and also would remind us of its impact, especially to our kids.  
  1. Cabell Eames, Political Director, 350 Mass 
  1.   Q and A